Initial reports in Telangana indicate farmers are complying with the State government’s suggestions on crop coverage to regulate output.

Farmers have sown over 11 lakh acres so far. Officials said that the sowing pattern indicates that they are sowing according to the government plan.

Of the 1.25 crore acres, cotton is being sown in 60.16 lakh acres, paddy in 41.76 lakh acres, red gram in 12.31 lakh acres and corn in 1.53 lakh acres.

Beginning this season, the Chandrashekar Rao government has decided to regulate the cropping pattern in the State by mandating the acreage for different crops.

Though farmers’ unions, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and agri-economists opposed the plan, the State government has implemented the plan. It even threatened to deny the Rythu Bandhu financial assistance to those who fail to follow the crop advisory.

On Monday, the government has released ₹5,500 crore under the Rythu Bandhu scheme. Each farmer will get ₹5,000 for every acre of land that they have. The facility, however, is not extended to tenant farmers. The money will be deposited in the accounts of farmers in the next two weeks.

The Chief Minister said the scheme would require ₹1,500 crore more. “I’ve asked the Finance Department to make the provisions accordingly,” he said.

Additional acreage

The Government’s decision to regulate the cropping area after the State witnessed a record output of one crore tonnes in the Rabi season. The Chief Minister argued that focussing on only one-two major crops, with no control over the area, could result in poor prices for farmers.

While calling for significant increase in cotton area (from 46-50 lakh acres to over 60 lakh acres), he asked farmers not to grow maize in the rabi season.

At a review meeting held on Monday, the Chief Minister said that the farmers have seen merit in the crop regulation.

The State expects the rabi acreage to grow by 10-12 lakh acres to about 65-lakh acres. The State has asked them to sow maize over 6-7 lakh acres in rabi. Paddy will be allowed in 45 lakh acres, while chickpeas will be grown in 4 lakh acres.

The Chief Minister argued that if farmers grew crops that had demand in the market, they need not worry about the Minimum Support Price.

Criticism

Farmers’ unions, however, feel regulated cropping would harm the interests of the small and marginal farmers. They are also worried that regulated cropping could lead to neglect of minor crops such as millets.

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